I came across this image today while cruising around the Block Island Times website. It's powerful to think that the motivation of all these poeple helped to make the Ian Kortbek Memorial Skatepark a reality. See the whole article at the Block Island Times Website.
More than 300 people came to Ball-O'Brien on a sunny Sunday morning, Nov. 3, to pay their final respects to Ian Kortbek at the site of the future skate park to be named in his honor.
Block Island Spotlighted as a 'Success Story'
Block Island, Rhode Island - Awarded $10,000
With a year-round population of only 800, and over one-fourth of the small island dedicated as a wildlife reserve, recreation facilities on Block Island are very limited. In 1999, after being banned from skateboarding around town, skaters Ian Kortbek and Edward Stover wrote a letter to the town requesting a skatepark. They proceeded to lobby for the park and generated strong community support. With backing from the local Lion's Club, the grassroots project gained momentum and numerous fundraisers were held.
In 2001, a traffic accident took Ian's life. Determined to complete the skatepark in his memory, the community rallied on. In 2003, after four years of fundraising and working toward Ian's dream, they requested bids on the concrete pad, and to their dismay material costs had almost doubled since they began their efforts. Determined to stick with the original design, they decided to continue fundraising until the additional cost was covered.
After an extraordinary display of perseverance and hard work they were only $10,000 away from realizing their new goal when they applied for a Tony Hawk Foundation grant. The Board of Directors awarded them the well-deserved funds, and the Ian Kortbek Memorial Skate Park opened later that year. "Time after time we had thought that the project would never be completed," writes Edward Stover, now away at college. "The town kept telling us of new ordinances that needed to be followed, and new building materials that would need to be paid for. It seemed that we would never be able to raise enough money, but with countless fundraisers, letters upon letters to local contributors, pleading at meeting after meeting, and your greatly appreciated contribution, we finally reached our goal."
The years of hard work paid off with a sense of accomplishment and a skatepark that benefits the entire community. "The reception by the community for the skatepark has been overwhelmingly favorable," says skatepark-committee leader Ray Torrey. "The park is very busy-even when the weather turns cold. The skaters have learned that persistence pays off-where there is a will there is a way. We [town officials/adult community members] are impressed with how attractive and trouble-free it has turned out to be, and how much it has added to our community!"